Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Prevalence of Predators Among Us

In updating What makes Narcissists Tick, one of the things I have been doing is adding links to outside sources of information on key points.

One thing that has troubled me is the official DSM "estimate" of the prevalence of NPD in the general population.

Why? Because no first-year college math or science student would dare try to pass off such an "estimate" (based solely on statistics taken from clinical samples of patients undergoing treatment) as legitimate.

Moreover, this "estimate" (of 1%) is routinely stated in the literature as gospel, without the necessary caveats that should make it clear that it is but a guess and not to be considered reliable.

Both these facts beg the question Is this outfit that shoddy? Or is this obscurantism?

I can come up with no other plausible explanation for such bad science, can you?

I'm a believer in leaning toward the more likely explanation when you can't be sure. And it isn't very likely that this outfit is that shoddy and unable to handle statistics properly.

In fact, all psychopaths are narcissists and (according to their own estimates) psychopaths alone comprise far more than 1% of the population. Boom, that fact alone blows the 1% estimate right out of the water. So, where is it coming from?

They must be counting only those diagnosed as narcissists only, ignoring all cases of co-morbidity, which are the majority since they themselves instruct clinicians to diagnose more than one personality disorder if at all possible. (Which raises the question of why they do this. To muddy the picture?) Cute. That's how you fiddle with statistics to make the prevalence of NPD seem as low as fiddling with statistics can make it.

But why?

Well, perhaps, what if Sam Vaknin is correct and narcissism is the root of all personality disorders?

I, personally, believe (especially after my work in prison) that AsPD is simply a less inhibited form of NPD and that applying the two diagnoses to the same person is superfluous. ...I regard pathological narcissism as THE Source of all PDs. ...I think that the diagnostic distinctions between the Cluster B disorders are pretty artificial. It is true that some traits are much more pronounced (or even qualitatively different) in given disorders. For example: the grandiose fantasies typical to a narcissist (their pervasiveness, their influence on the minutest behaviour, their tendency to inflate and so on) – are rather unique in both severity and character to NPD. But I think that they all the Cluster B Personality Disorders occupy a continuum.

If he's right, there are an awful lot of malignant narcissists out there. Presumably, that's why his prevalence estimate is much higher than the DSM estimate. It seems arrived at by adding the DSM estimates of other personality disorders into the total.

Which still puts it way too low, because the DSM estimates are all based on invalid samples, clinical studies of people in treatment.

The first legitimate population survey was taken in 2004, and it doubled the DSM estimate of the rate of personality disorder in the general population (6-9%), estimating that 15% of American have at least one of seven personality disorders - not counting borderline, schizotypal, and narcissistic disorders.

This survey also showed how far off DSM estimates are. For example, it showed the prevalence of Avoidant PD to be 2.4-to-5 times higher than the DSM. It also showed that Dependent PD is the least common PD in the population, not the most common as the DSM estimates rate it.

Yet still the DSM estimates are cited as gospel. Why?

Scientists would never deceive us, right? Wrong. Not so long ago, they ganged up and ridiculed Louis Pasteur for saying that germs cause disease, refusing to quit committing surgery without even washing their hands. A few decades ago, their voices joined as one in a chorus of screaming at us that the planet would be dead by now due to a population explosion. For decades, they ignored the evidence in favor of a low carbohydrate diet to lend their voices, as one, in a chorus of praise of for the high carbohydrate diet. They ignored the known fact that most blood cholesterol is produced by the liver and has almost nothing to do with cholesterol in the food you eat. Now their voices gang up in a chorus that blames global warming on the burning of fossil fuels, ignoring the facts proving that human-made carbon-dioxide emissions cannot possibly be having more than a minuscule effect on the trend. They also ignore the fact that the United States is the only net absorber of carbon dioxide in the world = removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it adds, largely because we are decades ahead of the rest of the world in cleaning the air and reforestation, so that the only additional changes we could make would be very expensive and produce minimal change.

So, scientists are no more honest than any other group of people, being just as yielding to groupthink and political correctness among their peers.

Over time, I have been noting strange hints and bits of information that indicate the mental-healthcare establishment is a patronizing big brother that doesn't want us to know how prevalent NPD is. Are they afraid that "people would panic if they knew" and start pointing the finger all around, suspecting every other person of having NPD and stigmatizing those with the disease? Do they fear people would call for change in the law to allow forcing those suspected of having NPD to undergo evaluation and possibly be locked up?

I don't know. But I am really getting suspicious of that.

How self flattering to have such a low opinion of the "common people," as this guy describes us. How arrogant to Daddy us by keeping knowledge from us on the grounds that it would be dangerous for us to have.

My, what good people to have such bleeding-heart humanitarian concern for the predators among us ... and such callous disregard for the much greater pain and suffering of their unwarned and therefore unsuspecting victims, who vastly outnumber them.

Concealing the truth about how common predators are is no different than a bishop moving a predatory priest from parish to parish for a continuous supply of unsuspecting prey. In both cases, you're serving up unsuspecting prey to a wolf in sheep's clothing.

That's indefensible.

Of course there would be calls for Draconian measures. But, as a civil society of grownups, we are quite capable of dealing with them, thank you.

Of course it would be wrong to lump all the mentally ill into one category as "dangerous." That's ridiculous. But it's no more wrong and ridiculous than the mental healthcare establishment lumping all the mentally ill together as "okay, just disabled."

They have political and social agendas: 'People are inherently good,' they say. 'Just give them a hug, a puppy dog, and a musical instrument and they're all going to be okay.'

Not.

Predators are predators. You don't talk a tiger into being an antelope. The predators among us are sane, just twisted. They can and do control their conduct when the coast isn't clear. So, what they do when the coast is clear and a vulnerable target of opportunity is within striking distance IS THEIR FAULT.

But the wilful unknowing of this keeps obdurately on. See it in this paper by Pat Riser. He makes no distinction between mental disorder and personality disorder. He writes as though predators don't exist. Indeed, his idea of "mental illness" puts those scare quotes around it. It isn't mental illness, it's being "psychiatrically labeled/disabled" (this time the scare quotes are mine). Their "self determination" has been blocked. In other words, their parents and society determine their behavior.

He has a whole list of words to make taboo. When a psychopath or narcissist commits a crime, the news media must not mention that the perp is mentally ill. We mustn't call psychopaths "psychopaths" or narcissists "narcissists" or schizophrenics "schizophrenics" or alcoholics "alcoholics."

Or idiots "idiots," I suppose.
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7 Comments:

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy,

If you really get into studying the history of mental illness and how those who have mental illnesses have been and are treated, you will probably come away with the right assessment of the 'normal' persons handing out the treatment are far more dangerous than those who are truly mentally ill.

In our time, the mentally ill are not, for the most part, housed in asylums but instead, locked mentally within chemical asylums and left in society. The dirty secret is that these chemical asylums don't keep society any safer but in fact, often unleash more danger into society than they protect us from. The whole system stinks and does no one any good. Not the patient, not the patients family, and certainly not society. Most all that psychiatry does is experimental and those labeled as mentally ill are great guinea pigs because they generally have few who care about them and if they complain about their treatment, who will listen to them?

God forbid that they should ever start locking people up based upon a psychiatrists diagnosis, as those diagnosis stand now. If that were to happen,then any of us could be locked up at any time because all of it is so highly subjective.

We all want the comfort of thinking that there is help for madness out there but the truth is that little has changed since the days of bedlam.

The more we talk about personality disorder the less I can think of it as illness but only learned behaviors that can be unlearned and choices that can be corrected by the will to make better choices. In the case of psychopaths and MNPD's the question remains as to how to make a person who desires and relishes in the practice of evil desire to be good? The answer is we can't. There is no help for them from without if they don't have the desire for help within. To me, having respect for the boundaries of another says that I can punish evil persons when they commit evil but I can't force them to become well. I think our responsibility toward them is only in punishing the evil. For instance, all I can do for my son who has these tendencies is to hold him accountable and not allow him to fool me. I think of my dad and the greatest way all of us sinned against him was in being too embarrassed to hold him accountable for his lies and manipulations. My mother covered them and taught us to do the same. We have all suffered but the consequence for my dad is to reach the end of his life being so confused by his own lies and the mind games he has played with others as to not even know the truth of his own life. Those who attempt to recreate reality will in the end be wholly subject to the confusion of their own creation.

Ah well, that is my rant for today.

Pam

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Can't say that I disagree with any of that, though I may not be exactly where you are on everything. You can understand why people fear to see the mentally ill taken advantage of. Then they call things like teeth grinding and substance abuse "mental illness." May it is is just a character disorder. Lumping these people with the trutly mentally ill may be wrong.

 
At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy,

Until they have methods to physically measure the illnesses, it will always be highly subjective on the part of the patient as well as the psychiatrist. Unless there is a brain deformity or true imbalance that causes it, it can't truly be classified as disease. I think the psychiatry of our time has been very good at defining some disorders but as long as they treat according to symptoms, then everything they do is a shot in the dark because they don't really know what causes anything. If you look at the way they treated bipolar disorder in the 90's and how it has done an about face, you really can see how little they know and how much of the 'help' they offer is just experimentation.

None of us possess perfect character and most of us are working to improve for as long as we live. I truly do think it is more character disorder than disease. Yes, someone can become so consumed by the evil that they choose to employ that it causes them to become mad but they are the only ones that hold the power to end their madness. I think personal accountability is the only true answer and in a society that holds fewer and fewer personally accountable for their behavior, is it any wonder that there are so many predators among us?

I do value pshychology but I've had and seen too many bad results at the hands of modern psychiatry and the drug companies. More people die as the result of pscho tropics than most realize.

Pam

 
At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quick after thought to add. Substance abuse IS chemically induced mental illness. Often, pschotropics also induce greater illness than what exists naturally in a person. Other medications also induce mental illness with many patients who are admitted to Alzheimer's units being over medicated to the point of inducing mental illness. Chemical imbalances also mimic personality disorders during certain phases of illness. Now you tell me how is a 'physician' with no truly scientific way to measure what is occurring in the brain going to be able to decipher all of this that is now occurring simultaneously in our society?
Pam

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Fighter said...

We repeatedly tell our members and visitors to our site that Cyberpaths are predators and it is NOT the victims fault.

Many of these N/predators use NLP, seduction science and an inordinate number of cyberpaths we have heard of are salesmen and marketing professional in real life (Scott Peterson would be one good example)

They are predators. No matter what it is or who it is they are preying on... you are prey. And they will use any disguise or manipulative means at hand to achieve their domination of their prey.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger GilmoreGirls1 said...

I have been reading up on Narcissistic Personality
Disorder, specifically narcissistic bullies in the workplace. I think that my former coworker had NPD. My working relationship with this
individual ended very badly because I got fed up with his "time" issue. I saw a pattern of behavior with him concerning "his" time throughout my period of employment in the workplace. This coworker was only concerned about his time and would rudely dismiss one coworker in particular if she approached him about something work related. I also saw him do the same thing to a customer at one point. One aspect of our job was to help
customers, but he made it seem like his time was more important being spent getting his work related tasks done. One weird behavioral trait that I picked up on was the fact that he would always complain about not being able to take a lunch break even though everyone in the workplace was able to take a 30 minute lunch break. So at the same
time that he was complaining, he would still continue doing the work instead of just taking a break. It got to the point where I would just ignore him instead of trying to sympathize or empathize. In the past I would have said, "just stop doing the work and take your break" but he
wouldn't have listened to that advice anyway. There was also another incident in which he immediately started doing my work after finishing his job tasks, even though I told him that it was unnecessary and that he didn't
have to do it. He rudely responded, "I don't got time" while still continuing to do work that was assigned to me. This irritated me to the point of no return. I realized at this point, that this individual was
only interested in listening to himself so why bother.
Well about two weeks after this incident, there was the final
confrontation in which I had asked him to help me with a customer. He rudely responded, "I don't got time" and then rushed off to do his work. When he was done with his work, he approached me to make conversation and I told him that I did not want to talk to him. This led to an interrogation. I told him that he was annoying and that I no longer wanted to be lectured by him on how much time he didn't have. Off course this made me look unsympathetic. Well I ended up yelling in his face. I was
just completely repulsed. Then I realized that I couldn't stay at the job because of my actions. So after I told the supervisor that I was leaving, this coworker rudely dismissed me and I said something back to him, which provoked him to try to attack me.
The funny part is that I always knew something was wrong with him. He was just weird right from the beginning. Always had an opinion and always watched people like an oppurtunistic little leech. After leaving the job, I felt guilty because I figured that I should have had more sympathy toward this person but what was I supposed to do after realizing how selfish this person was? I really felt like I did lose my sanity temporarily when I blew up at him. It came at the point where I realized that this individual just would not change, no matter how sympathetic you are with them. They really don't hear what you are saying since it is all about them. As long as I didn't assert myself, I was ok with him, his "little" workplace pet. He seemed to enjoy getting my attention, even when I tried to ignore him he was constantly in my face like he couldn't take a hint. Just thinking about him now repulses me.

 
At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be ignorant to the subject but i believe that the psycopaths in the workplace should be braed because they will find every way to manipulate and intimidate you.

 

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